Interview with Wayles Browne
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Interview with Wayles Browne, professor of linguistics at Cornell University. Interview conducted in Ithaca, NY on February 8, 2013. Browne is a Slavic linguist specializing in Serbo-Croatian (or BCS - Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian). He has published on a variety of themes in Slavic and general linguistics and has taught nearly every Eastern European language during his time at Cornell.
Interview Themes: On studying Slavic at Harvard in the time of Roman Jakobson (1:50); Linguistics as an interdisciplinary field (10:47); What is language? (12:55); How languages evolve and become standardized (18:30); Language as a national symbol and its relation to conflict (23:43); Observing the fall of Yugoslavia as a linguist and someone with an attachment to the region (25:00); On what drew people to Yugoslavia in the 1970s (29:30); How Browne experienced Yugoslav federalism and its benefits/shortcomings (32:15); Languages and dialects, from Slovene to Genoese (38:00); Commonalities between Balkan/Southeastern European languages and languages that borrow structures--rather than simply vocabulary--from other languages (45:01); Delights and challenges of translation from BCS (53:45); What Browne has found gratifying in his career (57:47); Changes in the field of linguistics and how Browne relates to them (1:03:25)